For the second time in two evenings in the major circuits, a western club celebrated a championship at home on Tuesday.
Captain Mark Stone scored a hat trick and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Florida Panthers 9-3 to win the Stanley Cup in five games.
This is the Golden Knights’ first NHL championship, in their sixth year of existence.
Monday in Denver, the Nuggets won their first NBA title in 47 seasons by defeating the Miami Heat 94-89, again in five games.
Vegas also reached the final round in the team’s first campaign (2017-18), but the Washington Capitals prevailed in five games.
On the ice on Tuesday, Stone capped off her hat-trick by sending the disc into an empty net, with 5:54 on the clock.
He helped the Knights close the playoffs with a 9-3 record at T-Mobile Arena.
“You sure know how to party,” commissioner Gary Bettman told the crowd after the game. What happens in the arena and outside is incredible. Las Vegas is not just a city of hockey, it’s a city of champions. »
Other game-winning goals came from Reilly Smith, Alec Martinez, Nicolas Hague, Michael Amadio, Ivan Barbashev and Nicolas Roy.
Accomplice of Hague’s goal, Jonathan Marchessault scored at least one point in a 10e game in a row. He led the playoffs with 25 points, including 13 goals.
Marchessault also won the Conn-Smythe Trophy, which is awarded to the spring tournament’s most valuable player.
Jack Eichel had three assists, while Adin Hill made 31 saves.
Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett scored for the Panthers, while Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 22 shots.
Stone was the first to lift the cup, ahead of each of the six players who have been with the Knights since the very beginning, including Marchessault. The cup then wandered around the rest of the team.
“Incredible,” Stone said. Seeing the eyes of my teammates at that moment is one of the craziest feelings I have ever had. I can’t even describe how I feel inside right now. […] It’s everything you can imagine. The work of a season of 82 games and four series. To work over and over again to get there. »
Stone and Hague scored first 1:49 apart in the first period.
Following an Ekblad response early in the middle period, Stone completed a three-goal drive in 6:47 after Martinez and Smith netted.
Amadio got there at the very end of the second period.
Stone scored the game’s first goal at 11:52 shorthanded.
He kept the puck on a two-on-one and beat Bobrovsky with a shot from very close to the top of the net.
Aleksander Barkov, of the Panthers, had just missed a great opportunity at the right mouth, on a pass from Carter Verhaeghe.
Hague doubled the cushion at 1:41, after Eichel came close to scoring from the backhand. Bobrovsky lost his stick and wanted to immobilize the puck between it and his right arm. But in the ensuing scrum, Hague came to push the puck into the net.
Ekblad closed the gap to 2:15 in the middle period, using a wrist shot from the blue line. Nick Cousins had been quick and efficient along the boards, before handing him the puck.
The Golden Knights, however, revived in the middle of the period.
Martinez took a pass from Eichel and scored with a wrist shot at 10:28 into the second period.
Smith took advantage of a loose puck to the left mouthpiece, after a shot from the blue line.
Stone completed his double at 17:15 in the second period, thanks to a one-timer.
With 1.2 seconds remaining before the second intermission, Amadio made it 6-1 by taking advantage of his own rebound, after a shot he deflected.
Barbashev added some in the middle of the third period. Twenty-five seconds later, Reinhart got on the board via a slap shot.
After a Bennett shot was inadvertently deflected by Pietrangelo at 11:39, Stone added his ninth point of the final into an empty net.
The last goal of the evening was Roy’s affair at 18:58, on a loose puck.
In the third minute of the match, Eichel evaded a short pass from Brayden McNabb and the disc went to Anton Lundell, alone in front of the net. The Finn, however, was frustrated by a quick move from Hill’s stick – bodes well for Vegas, in retrospect.
Florida was doing without Matthew Tkachuk, out with an unspecified injury, as the winger contributed 24 points during the playoffs.
The Panthers also reached the Finals in 1996, being swept away by the Colorado Avalanche.